Letters Boxing and other risky sports

Public health and private liberty is complex

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7514 (Published 22 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7514
  1. Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities1
  1. 1BMA, London WC1H 9JP, UK
  1. vnathanson{at}bma.org.uk

Sokol assumes that Mill’s defence of individual liberty clarifies the scope of state responsibility to its citizens.1 It does not. In complex societies the distinction between harms to self and harms to others is unclear. If individual autonomy always trumped collective interests we would have no motorcycle helmet legislation, no seat belts, and no punitive taxation on harmful substances such as …

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